David Tua vs. Alexander Ustinov this Saturday in New Zealand
By Eric Thomas: 41-year-old David Tua (52-4, 43 KO’s) potentially has a very tough fight ahead of him this Saturday night against the 6’7 1/2″ Alexander Ustinov (28-1, 21 KO’s) in their scheduled 12 round bout for the vacant WBA Pan African heavyweight title at the Claudelands Arena in Hamilton, New Zeakland.
Tua will be giving up 8 inches in height and 11 inches in reach against the huge 305 lb. Ustinov, and it’s going to make it very tough for Tua to land his power shots. We saw Tua in a fight like this years ago when he was dominated by the 6’5″ Lennox Lewis by a 12 round unanimous decision in November 2000. Tua, 5’10”, was too short to land his big left hook against Lewis and he ended up losing by a set of lopsided scores.
Tua’s situation for Saturday’s is a lot worse than it was when he fought Lewis because Tua is a lot older, and he’s coming off of a two year layoff from boxing. The last time Tua fought was way back in August of 2011 when he was beaten by journeyman Monte Barrett by a 12 round unanimous decision.
Tua’s power was still there as seen by his 12th round knockdown of Barrett, but his work rate, speed and ability to throw combinations was no longer there for him. Tua showed in that fight and his other fight against Barrett the previous year in 2010, that he’s little more than a pot shot fighter. With Tua coming off of a 2-year layoff, you can imagine that Tua’s skills and stamina have eroded even further to the point where he’s going to be struggling with his stamina and his work rate.
If you can say anything about Ustinov, you’ve got to say that he’s good at using his height and reach against shorter heavyweights. He’s very similar to WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko with the way that he likes to pull back and lean backwards after he throws a shot to avoid getting hit. It makes it hard to hit him in the head. Ustinov was unbeaten until facing the big 6’4 1/2″ Kubrat Pulev last year in September and getting stopped in the 11th round. Pulev beat Ustinov by jabbing him hard for 11 rounds in a mostly one-sided fight. Ustinov bounced back from the defeat to beat journeyman Ivica Perkovic by an 8 round unanimous decision last April.
Ustinov has wins over Jason Gavern, Denis Bakhtov, Paulo Vidoz, Kertson Manswell, Monte Barrett and Michael Sprott in mostly one-sided fights.
The question about Saturday’s fight is whether Ustinov has lost his confidence from his loss to Pulev. If that’s the case then Tua will have a chance to win the fight, but only if he nails him with something big.